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Archive for the ‘Punk’ Category

RIP, Poly Styrene (April 25, 2011) Punk Pioneer; X-Ray Spex

Posted by on April 25, 2011

Poly Styrene (Born Marianne Elliott-Said)
July 3, 1957 – April 25, 2011

Poly Styrene was the lead singer and songwriter for the great British punk band, X-Ray Spex.  Formed in 1976, the band, despite the fact that they initially released just five singles and one long-player, became one of the most important groups of the original punk movement.  After running away from home at 15, Styrene bounced from one music festival to another until she eventually ended up at an early Sex Pistols gig which inspired her to form a punk band.  The band’s first album Germ Free Adolescents is by most accounts one of the greatest punk – if not rock – albums ever made.  Its “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” is widely recognized as a flashpoint for punk rock.  After the band broke up in 1979, Styrene released a solo album Translucence which had more of a jazzy sound and reportedly inspired the likes of Everything But The Girl.  She continued to release music, both solo and with a reformed version of X-Ray Spex, over the next two decades.  She also lent her name and voice to various social causes throughout the years.  In February 2011, it was announced that Poly Styrene was suffering from breast cancer.  She was 53 years old when she died from the disease on April 25, 2011.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour, Mike Woodford, and Su for the help

What You Should Own

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RIP, Rick Kulwicki (February 15, 2011) The Fluid

Posted by on February 15, 2011

Rick Kulwicki
July 7, 1961 – February 15, 2011

Rick Kulwicki is best remembered as a guitarist for Denver, Colorado punk band, the Fluid.  Formed in 1984 out of the ashes of Madhouse, the Fluid went on to release a handful of albums for Rayon, Glitterhouse, Hollywood and most notably, Sub Pop Records.  They have the distinction of being the first non-Seattle band signed to that revered label.   The band broke up in 1993 and reunited in 2008.  All the while, Kulwicki was a constant and respected player throughout the vibrant Denver rock scene.  He was most recently a member of the Buckingham Squares.  Rick Kulwicki was 49 when he passed away on February 15, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Mike Woodford for the help

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RIP, Frankie Campangna (January 1, 2011) Lead Singer of Spector 45

Posted by on January 1, 2011

Frankie Campagna
October 21, 1986 – January 1, 2011

Photo by Allison V. Smith

Frankie Campagna was the lead singer of Dallas Texas rockabilly/punk band, Spector 45.  Formed in April of 2003, the up-and-coming band draws its influences from ’50s rock ‘n roll and ’70s punk.  Frankie Campagna was just 24 when he passed away on January 1, 2011.  Early reports indicate that commited suicide.

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RIP, J.P. Toulan (November 13, 2010) Old Skull; Planned Collapse

Posted by on November 13, 2010

John Paul Toulan
1980 – November 13, 2010

JP Toulan is best remembered as the lead singer and guitarist for early ’90s pre-teen punk band, Old Skull.  Formed in Madison, Wisconsin in 1989, the band was initially made up of Toulan (age 10), his brother Jamie Toulan (age 9), and friend Jesse Collins-Davies (age 10).  In 1989, the band signed with respected indie label, Restless Records who released their debut, Get Outta School.  The fact that the boys were not even in their teens yet sang of such themes as AIDS, homelessness, and Reagan-era politics, many critics wrote them off as a novelty act.  Meanwhile, they continued a to build a solid fanbase throughout the skate punk community.  And perhaps due to their novelty, they were asked to support such acts as Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth and GWAR, and were profiled in such media as “A Current Affair,” MTV News, Life and Newsweek.  In 1992, the band released their second album, CIA Drug Fest but soon broke up.   Toulan battled drug addiction throughout his adult life.  In 2005, Old Skull briefly reformed, afterwhich Toulan moved to New York where he joined crust punk band, Planned Collapse.   JP Toulan was 30 when he passed away on November 13, 2010.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Mike Woodford for the help

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RIP, Bobby Porter (October 28, 2010) Pittsburgh Area Punk Legend

Posted by on October 28, 2010

Bobby Porter
July 24, 1951 – October 28, 2010

Bobby Porter was beloved punk singer who called the Pittsburgh area home.  A veteran of the Vietnam war, Porter first surfaced in the area as an R&B singer during the mid ’70s.  But by the end of the decade, he became taken by the city’s burgeoning punk scene and successfully transitioned into it.   Over the years he fronted such punk bands as Thin White Line and Young Lust, and built a solid following thanks to his strong soulful voice and his energetic performances.  Bobby Porter was 59 when he died of cancer on October 28, 2010.

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RIP, Ari Up (October 20, 2010) Lead Singer Of The Slits

Posted by on October 20, 2010

Ari Up (Born Ariane Forster)
January 17, 1962 – October 20, 2010

Ari Up was the lead singer for the British punk band, the Slits Born in Germany, Up was exposed to the rock music world at a very young age by her mother, Nora Forster, who was friends with Jimi Hendrix, Chris Spedding, and later married John Lydon of the Sex Pistols.  By the late ’70s, the Forster home was somewhat of a halfway house for starving punk musicians, with Up taking it all in, even learning to play the guitar from Joe Strummer.  In 1976, Up, who was just 14 at thetime, formed the Slits with Palmolive (Paloma Romero).   The band built a solid following thanks to its reggae and dub leaning punk sound, which was heavily influenced by the Clash, and Up’s energetic live performances.  In 1979, the band released its debut album, Cut, on Island Records to some controversy as the cover featured the women dressed only in loin cloths and covered in mud.  Even though it was never considered a “hit,”  the album generally appears in “best of” lists to this day.  Following the break up of the Slits in 1981, Up all but retired from music, moving to the jungles of Indonesia and Belize with her husband and children to live amongst the indigenous people.  She made music occasionally and resurfaced in 2005 to release her first solo album, Dread More Dan Dead.   The following year, Up reformed the Slits and released an EP and toured the world.  Since then she has appeared on albums by the likes of Lee “Scratch” Perry, the Jammyland All Stars, and Mark Stewart.  Ari Up passed away on October 20, 2010 at the age of 48.  Cause of death was not immediately released, but she apparently had been suffering from an undisclosed illness.

Thanks to Mike Woodford for the help

What You Should Own

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Died On This Date (August 28, 2007) Hilly Kristal / Owned CBGB’s

Posted by on August 28, 2010

Hilly Kristal
September 23, 1931 – August 28, 2007

Hilly with Little Steven

Hilly Kristal with Little Steven

Opened in 1973, Hilly Kristal’s CBGB became the epicenter of the punk and new wave movement thanks to his early bookings of such acts as Blondie, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Television and the Ramones.  After moving to New York City after serving in the Marines, Kristal became manager of the storied Village Vanguard jazz club where he booked such acts as Miles Davis.  In 1968, he co-founded the Central Park’s Schaefer Music Festival which, over the next decade, hosted the likes of the Who, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, the Doors and Aerosmith.  In 1973, he opened CBGB – OMFUG, which stood for  “Country, BlueGrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.”  He closed the club during a much publicized rent dispute in 2006.  Hilly Kristal died of lung cancer at the age of 75.

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Died On This Date (August 28, 2000) Sean McCabe / Ink & Dagger

Posted by on August 28, 2010

Sean Patrick McCabe
DOB Unknown – August 28, 2000

Sean McCabe was the frontman for the vampire-themed hardcore punk band, Ink & Dagger.  Hailing from Philadelphia, the group gained a bit of notoriaty during the mid ’90s, partly due to their outrageous stage antics.  On many occasions donning face paint, the band would incorporate fake blood into their shows.  Legend has it that McCabe and band once threw up all over a Christmas tree during a show.  Shortly after recording what would be the band’s last album, Sean McCabe was found dead in a hotel room, having apparently choked on his own vomit.  In 2006, the surviving members of the band sued Microsoft for using three of their songs without permission on their Amped snowboarding X-box game.  The suit was settled with an apparent pay out to the band and McCabe’s estate.

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Died On This Date (August 14, 2005) Esther Wong / The Godmother Of Punk; Owned Madame Wong’s in L.A.

Posted by on August 14, 2010

Esther Wong
August 13, 1917 – August 14, 2005

Esther Wong was a Chinese immigrant who landed in Los Angeles in 1949.  By the mid ’70s, Wong and her husband were running Chinese restaurant that presented a Polynesian floor show in L.A.’s Chinatown.  When business started to slow down by the end of the decade, Wong reluctantly allowed a local promoter to start booking local punk bands on her stage.  At the time, most of the city’s venues were banning such acts.  The promoter and Wong soon parted company and Wong started bringing music she enjoyed – the more pop leaning new wave.  In 1985, the club was seriously damaged in a fire and within a few years, Wong opened Madame Wong’s West in Santa Monica where she continued building her reputation as the “Godmother of Punk.”  The list of acts that played Madam Wong’s during their early years includes Guns ‘N Roses, Black Flag, Blondie, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oingo Boingo, Fear, the Ramones, the Go-Gos, and the Police.  Esther Wong died of emphysema on August 14, 2005, the day after her 88th birthday.

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Died On This Date (July 29, 1996) Jason Thirsk / Pennywise

Posted by on July 29, 2010

Jason Thirsk
December 25, 1967 – July 29, 1996

Jason Thirsk had been the bassist for southern California pop-punk band, Pennywise until, for reasons unknown, he left the band.  Thirsk had been suffering from alcoholism and battling depression in those days, and had been in and out of rehab.  It has been reported that he was in a deep depression about parting ways with the band, leading him to shoot and kill himself at the age of 28.

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